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Prince-Edward Hastings MPP candidates prepare for campaign

By Steph Crosier

Some are new some are old but now all the candidates for Prince-Edward Hasting have been nominated.

Leona Dombrowsky, the current Minister of Education, is seeking re-election for the Liberals. Treat Hull has been campaigning for the Green Party since September 2010. The newcomers are Sherry Hayes for the New Democratic Party and Todd Smith for the Progressive Conservatives.

Dombrowsky said constituents bring forward the issues.

“The main issues in our area are ensuring that the people in the riding have access to the services that are most important to them,” said Dombrowsky. “As I speak with constituents, they obviously are looking for quality health care services, quality education. Also ensuring that we have jobs in our community.”

Hull said because the Green Party has done so well in other areas similar to Prince Edward- Hastings, this riding is a priority for the party.

“The Bruce Peninsula and the Niagara Escarpment, where both the business makeup is very similar, with similar kind of issues,” said Hull. “So we’ve run in second place in those ridings in the past election and expect that probably one of our first breakthroughs, where we elect a green MPP will be elected will be from a riding with the characteristics of Prince Edward-Hastings.”

Hayes said she is popular in Bancroft where she lives with her daughter, but admits she has a lot of campaigning to do in the southern part of the riding. The issues she will be focusing on will be health care and education.

“Part of what I need to do, if I am going to represent this riding is to not make assumptions to what people’s individual issues are or what the riding’s issues are as a whole,” said Hayes. “Certainly from what I know and the people I’ve talked with, the issues are fairly common I think, health care, education are big ones unemployment rate particularly in North Hastings.”

Todd Smith, news director at Quinte Broadcasting, said issues for him include a motor vehicle plant in Belleville that was closed, Ontario services being moved to Century Place, and wind power in Prince Edward County.

“There are a number of riding-specific type issues,” said Smith. “But I think the issues resounding with everybody is the price of hydro and the increased taxes that they experienced over the last eight years. Hydro rates have gone up 150% and taxes have gone up more than they ever have before in the province’s history with the health premium that Dalton McGuinty brought in back in 2004 and then the HST last Canada Day. “

Smith said special steps have been taken at the radio station since March in order for him to campaign fairly. Smith said he has refrained from doing newscasts and editorials. He said leaving the station right now is not possible.

“When the premier goes in and starts the election campaign, then I’ll be coming off,” said Smith. “As of right now, it’s campaign, but it’s not the campaign. So I have to stay on because I simply can’t afford not too.”

Smith said once the campaign starts he won’t even be in the radio building.

“As soon as the campaign starts and probably just a little bit before that I’m going to take my holidays,” said Smith. “I’ll be out of the building and off the air.”